US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Welcomes CFPB Action Against For-Profit College ITT’s Private Lending Policies

Harkin Led Senate Investigation of For-Profit Colleges and Exposed High-Interest “PEAKS” Loan Program in June 2011 Hearing

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against ITT Educational Services alleging predatory lending tactics. The high-interest rate ITT private loan programs at issue in the lawsuit were first exposed at Harkin’s June 2011 HELP Committee hearing on the for-profit college sector.

Harkin also released a report in 2012 on the findings of a two-year investigation of the for-profit higher education industry that specifically focused on ITT’s high-cost, deceptive recruiting, and called into question whether the company provided an educational benefit that justified the 1.1 billion in taxpayer dollars the company received in 2010 alone.

“I have long been concerned that ITT charges exorbitant prices fully aware that it is leading students into debt they cannot repay, saddling them with millions of dollars in private loan debt on which the majority will default,” Harkin said. “While the private loan program at issue was a win-win for ITT’s corporate executives, it has been nothing but a huge loser for students now struggling to pay back their student debt. I applaud the CFPB for taking action against ITT and its predatory lending program and I am encouraged by the agency’s vigilance over lending practices that take advantage of students seeking to further their education.”

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